How to Accurately Value Your Building & Contents

In order to get the correct amount of cover for your buildings and contents insurance, you need to accurately value the cost of your possessions and the cost of rebuilding your home. If you undervalue the cost, you risk not being covered for the full amount. On the other hand, if you value your contents too high, you risk overpaying for cover you don’t need. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) one in five UK households could be uninsured. This is usually due to not knowing how much their home contents are worth. Many insurers have a handy calculator to help you tot up the value that you should cover.

In this guide

How do I value my home contents?

To estimate the value of your home contents you should:

  • Go from room to room and make a list of all your possessions. A possession is usually defined as an item you would pack up in a box if you were moving house.
  • Estimate how much each possession in that particular room is worth.
  • Have an up to date valuation of all high-value items and jewellery – it’s worth noting that most contents policies have a maximum limit that any single item can be worth.
  • Add up the cost and keep the list with your insurance details.

People are amazed at how many more possessions they own once they’ve written everything down so it’s key to make sure you’re thorough. Your total value should be as close to exact as possible so it’s worth spending the time to check how much a replacement of each item on your list would be. In most cases, the value of an item is the amount it would cost to replace it today, which is unlikely to be the same amount you paid for it.

We’ve put together a handy checklist to ensure that you don’t miss a thing when valuing your contents for your home insurance.

What should I include in my estimate?

Most people only include high-value items in their estimate that are likely to be taken in a burglary. However, your entire contents could be destroyed in the unfortunate event of a fire or a flood so you need to consider every possession. The only things that you don’t need to include in the estimate are the fixtures and fittings that are covered under your, or your landlords, buildings insurance. Fixtures and fittings include walls, windows, roofs plus fitted wardrobes, kitchens and bathrooms. Curtains and carpets are the only exceptions as they are usually covered by the contents insurance.

What should be covered in my contents insurance?

Here’s a helpful list of what to include in your contents list:

Freestanding furniture:

  • Lamps
  • Cabinets
  • Sideboards
  • Side tables
  • Beds
  • Sofas
  • Dining tables and chairs
  • Bookcases

Kitchenware:

  • Electric whisks and blenders
  • Microwave
  • Toaster
  • Kettle
  • Pots and pans
  • Coffee machine
  • Cutlery
  • Crockery

Linens and soft accessories:

  • Towels
  • Bedding
  • Cushions
  • Blankets
  • Kitchen linen
  • Clothes

Electronics:

  • TV
  • Computer
  • Laptop
  • Sound system
  • Smart devices

Freestanding appliances:

  • Fridge
  • Freezer
  • Dishwasher
  • Washing machine
  • Tumble dryer

Items stored in a shed or garage:

  • Lawnmower
  • Tools
  • Gardening equipment
  • Bikes
  • Tents

Miscellaneous:

  • Books, DVD’s and games
  • Shoes
  • Children’s toys
  • Toiletries and cosmetics

Garden furniture and equipment:

  • Table and chairs
  • Loungers
  • BBQ
  • Play equipment

Decorative items:

  • Artwork, especially high-value pieces
  • Ornaments
  • Antiques

How do I calculate my rebuild cost?

In the event that your home is destroyed, it’s essential that you have the correct policy to cover this huge expense. To make sure you’re not left out of pocket it’s advisable to calculate the full cost to completely rebuild your home and register this with your insurance provider. If you overestimate the rebuild cost of your home you will spend more on cover that you don’t need. Underestimating the cost will have a negative effect and will leave you paying the shortfall.

This cost needs to include the labour and materials. The cost is usually lower than your homes market value. It’s key to have an accurate rebuild cost. The best way to achieve this is to either use a cost calculator or hire a chartered surveyor to carry out an assessment. If you have a standard brick home it’s far more straightforward to get an accurate cost. However, if you’ve used non-standard materials, specific design and build features or you live in a listed property, it’s advisable to contact a professional chartered surveyor due to its complexities.

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